ETX city mulling police chief's future, amid complaints from off - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ETX city mulling police chief's future, amid complaints from officers and citizens

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PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert's job was on the line at a city council meeting Monday night, after a survey revealed low morale, faith in leadership, and equity among his police officers.

But close to two dozen people who spoke at Monday night's meeting said the problem is with the department itself, and it includes issues with race, leadership, and respect.

Almost three hours after the meeting started, Police Chief Robert Herbert emerged from the city council building. As people stood up to speak --both for and against him-- he stayed tucked back, in a hallway mostly out of sight. 
 
It didn't take long for things to turn ugly... with some community members saying the police officers who didn't like the chief were racist, ignorant and stupid. 
 
Kenneth Davidson, the president of the Anderson County NAACP, says race relations have improved and tensions have subsided since Chief Herbert was hired in 2011.
 
"Before he came," Davidson said, "there were incidents where a black person would get stopped on the side of the street just for walking on the side of the street where there was no sidewalk."
 
Representatives from the Texas Municipal Police Association handed council members evidence of a survey that showed zero percent of police officers had high morale, trusted the chief's leadership, or were content with their careers at Palestine PD.
 
Then officer, after officer, and some of their wives, spoke about lack of training, fear of retaliation and disrespect under Chief Herbert.
 
Some people brushed off the officers's stories of pain and hurt, but it will take the community coming together fix the problem in Palestine.
 
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